Fare Management – Easily Accessible Tickets

In light of today’s complexity in public passenger services, fare management is of great importance. The customer enters starting point and destination into the app, in order to purchase all necessary tickets in one step. Fare management systems are responsible for directing the ticket price to the individual transport operators, facilitating the actual payment process and the purchase of the ticket.

Integrated Fare Management with Easy Ticketing

Smart Cards and RFID Technologies

Card Services and Commercial Services

QR code scanner
The ticket is redeemed via QR code scanner with the mobile phone.

Using Mobile Tickets – Applications for Easy Ticketing

Integrated fare management is concerned with the entire ticketing process. The fare is collected using an electronic payment system and a mobile ticket application issues the ticket and simultaneously counts the passengers in the respective mode of transportation. In this way ticket sales and rate adjustments are subject to a constant process of optimization. Integrated fare management caters explicitly to the individual journey of each passenger. The perspective shifts from “these are our connections – make your choice” to: “How can we help you? – here, this is a tailored solution”.

Find out more about integrated fare management here.

Smart Cards for Digital Identity

Smart cards are used as means of ticket identification within the modes of transport. These credit card-sized plastic cards with their integrated circuits serve as digital identity. Using this chip card the passengers validate their right to use the transport, prove their balance or save their payment method. Accordingly they can use their smartphone to purchase an electronic ticket, which in turn will be connected to their smart card. In a ticket inspection they thus can prove their right to use the transport with the card. This of course, is facilitated by RFID technology using appropriate contactless scanners, so that in most cases the passengers do not even have to pull the card out of their wallet.

Find out more about the Smart Cards here.

Fare Management Beyond the Limits of One Business

Specialized card service providers ensure that fare management using smart cards can be employed beyond the limits of single transport businesses. On the one hand, pooling this expertise accomplishes improved performance in smart card administration. On the other, a centralized card service ensures that customers are not restricted to only one transportation company by their smart card. Instead of creating a multitude of different interfaces, the VDV-eTicket Service GmbH & Co. KG (Verband Deutscher Verkehrsunternehmen) determines one standard. With partnerships such as the one with CNA (Calypso Networks Association) international compatibility is also ensured. The transport businesses cooperating with this company can adapt the service according to their particular needs.

Find out more about the card services here.

Integrated Fare Management with Easy Ticketing

Integrated fare management enables the customers to plan their journey beyond the limits of the single transport companies. This is done with electronic fare management. The ticketing system, that is the issuing of a ticket using an electronic payment system, should ideally only have to be employed once by the customer for the entire journey. The systems for fare management ensure that customers have the local public transport ticket for the trip that follows their train ride already included. This is done at the point of sale of the ticket before beginning the journey. Additional fare collection on the way is therefore unnecessary.

Mobile Ticket Systems with Mobile Ticket Apps

Determining motive for the introduction of electronic payment systems is not only simplified ticket sales. Fare management provides customers and providers further advantages:

  • It navigates customers confidently through the increasing complexity of schedules and rates.
  • It enables the easy purchase of different tickets in extended tariff zones.
  • It disentangles static price categories and ensures adaptation to customer needs.
  • It enables the collection of data regarding traffic density.
  • It accommodates the decreasing willingness to carry change.
  • It saves costs for ticketing machines which are often at risk of vandalism.

If the customer purchases a ticket with a mobile ticket application, an algorithm can choose the tariff best suited to the customer’s interest. Implemented as electronic ticketing, most mobile ticket apps also support the fare payment collection of a mobile ticket system: With this fare settlement system the customer no longer has to wait at ticket machines or the counter. This quick ticket purchase, essentially in passing, is called ticket to go.

Passenger Counting Supports Ticket Sales

A ticket issuing system based on modern data communication also provides a precise passenger count. In this way the costly passenger counting done inside the vehicle by staff is a thing of the past. In accordance with this data, ticket sales can adapt their tariff administration. The passengers’ usage behavior gathered by the ticketing system identifies particularly frequented, profitable and busy routes – all dependent on the time of day.

The data collected via the ticket issuing system allows the transport operator to integrate the passengers’ needs into their fare management. If the customers want to get to their destination as fast as possible, they are offered a connection operating at high load for a higher fare. In case travel time is less crucial, the system offers a cheaper, yet somewhat slower connection.

The determining factor for the success of integrated fare management systems is a universal, open data and interface standard. To that end Verband Deutscher Verkehrsunternehmen (VDV, Ger.: association of German transport companies) has developed a core application for Germany called eTicket Deutschland. As of yet, not all cities are participating. The goal is to provide the customer with the entire range in all traffic networks.

The natural next step is the integration of compatibility on an international scale. There is for instance, a partnership between VDV and CNA (Calypso Networks Association), which is the operator of Calypso. This electronic fare management system is an international development and employed for instance, in Paris, Venice and Montreal.

Smart Cards and RFID Technologies

A smart card – also called integrated circuit card (ICC) – is an integrated circuit built into a plastic card. The user usually recognizes these from the visible gold-plated contact pads. The actual hardware logic, a memory chip and often a dedicated microprocessor are situated beneath this interface. Smart cards have various areas of application, they are used for instance, for

  • SIM cards in mobile phones,
  • electronic wallet on payment cards,
  • decryption of pay TV,
  • storage of electronic tickets.

Contactless Payment with Chip Cards

The versatility of smart cards is founded in the concept of chip cards being a digital saving location for arbitrary information. Using microprocessors, developers implement cryptography in order to protect the data from unauthorized manipulation. Hence a chip card does require a matching scanner.

In addition RFID (radio frequency identification) offers contactless communication with the smart card. With this technology the transponder chip in the smart card uses a magnetic field provided by the scanner, in order to communicate.

Saving Contactless Tickets on a Chip Card

This technology enables the contactless sale and payment of digital tickets for public transport. The customers hold their payment card, issued by a bank, close to the scanner and thus purchase their ticket contactlessly. Within the vehicle the customers validate their ticket by holding the chip card close to a permanently installed scanner.

This process is constantly improving: If the customers connect their chip card with a user account, they can easily purchase online tickets and hence accelerate the payment process. Pay-as-you-go services are also possible: The fare for each trip is deducted from a credit balance or a designated bank account is charged.

A promising alternative is near field communication (NFC) technology which is based on RFID. The functionality is comparable, but NFC is supported by smartphones. This technology allows transport companies to apply a simplified and uniform process and makes the usage of several specific chip cards obsolete. As an interim solution, some transport companies use multipurpose cards with multiple integrated chips in one card.

Card Services and Commercial Services

Card services administer the entire life cycle of chip cards. They offer a comprehensive smart card management from issuing and usage to deactivation. They link and integrate the chip cards into the IT system of the ticket providers and so enable the usage of electronic tickets in public transportation.

Multi-business Ticket Handling

Ticket marketing strives to accomplish fast ticket shipment and electronic ticket operating. To that end ticket sales for smart cards requires a central systems operation. This does not necessarily have to be operated internally, but the transport company can very well buy it from a third party. In Germany there is the VDV eTicket Service GmbH & Co. KG (VDV, Ger.: association of German transport companies), in which a multitude of transport enterprises participate. This model promotes a uniform standard and enables the individual transport companies to connect ticket processing beyond the limits of the individual company.

Multi-functioning Smart Card Management

The card service operator determines the digital communication standard for the processing of tickets, which is then adopted by the individual transport companies for their cards. In order to provide the passenger with greater convenience, these companies usually use contactless chip cards with RFID technology. The service provider supports the following functionalities of smart card management:

  • registration and deregistration in the system
  • personalization with customer information
  • depersonalization or repersonalization
  • initialization for usage
  • deactivation or blocking
  • reactivation and activation
  • backup and restoration of card information

Billing via the Central Systems Operation

Unlike paper tickets, ticket billing using card services is implemented electronically via the central systems operation. The card service provider’s server identifies the customer by their personal data stored on the smart card, and then employs this to process billing. eTicket Deutschland offers three options:

  • Pre-paid: An existing credit is charged.
  • Auto-load: Once a set limit is reached, new credit is automatically purchased.
  • Post-paid: According to the billing information an invoice is created according to fixed intervals.

Using the support of an external service provider, even smaller transport companies can employ modern electronic ticket sales. The necessary special expertise such as a comprehensive clearing system with product, claim and finance clearing can be efficiently provided by a specialized company. In addition, transregional ticket sales can only be realized by a central card service.